Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Changeling, General Patton does Horror

Not known as a horror film actor, George C. Scott may have saved "The Exorcist" franchise with the "Legion: Exorcist 3."  In that film he played Detective Kinderman, from the original story, searching for evil in the aftermath of Washington, DC's most famous possession.  After one of the greatest performances of all time in "Patton," Scott was hard pressed to follow up that Oscar winning film.  "Day of the Dolphin" was interesting (people go both ways on that film), and in 1980 he teamed up with his wife, the lovely Trish Van Devere, to star in a creepy ghost story.  The story is ambitious and eerie.  Low on gore, very moody, and unafraid to reach into the power structure of our society, "The Changeling" deserves a look on this blog.
After losing his family in a freak snowplow accident (as if there are any other kind of those accidents), John (Scott), a pianist, moves to Seattle.  He plans on teaching at a university and finding an old house to live in.  Just his luck, he meets Claire (Van Devere) who works for the historical society. She enables John to lease an old mansion ( guessed it...with a sordid past). Immediately, weird incidents occur.  Minor stuff, at first....weird sounds, piano keys pushed without a pianist around, toys appearing  As Claire and John get close, the two research the home and find out a child died there in 1909.  Uh oh...more research hints at a potential murder....and double uh oh....more research points'll see, but it is quite evil.
As John consults paranormal investigators, the mystery surrounding his mansion slowly takes do his sightings of a child ghost.  But is the child ghost the one who died in the house?  To complicate matters, some very important people in Seattle do not want the mystery from 1909 solved. John and Claire, not to be intimidated, put on a full court press to end the haunting and bring some uncomfortable truths into the light. Unfortunately for our duo, ghosts are not going to be the worst of their worries.
Directed by Peter Medak, this is a cool ghost story.  Perhaps light on big scares, and gore, this tale will stick with you long after the end credits. George C. Scott always turns in a great performance, and Trish Van Devere is the epitome of a classy dame, and in "The Changeling" the two give us a duo which is so very enjoyable to watch.


  1. Freud talked about the "uncanny" the "heimlich and the unheimlich" in English "the friendly and the unfriendly" it's when the horror, the thing that terrifies you to death, happens in a place of the case of the Changeling, an old mansion...

    A great review, as always Chris! Where do I get to see it? Netflix?

  2. This film inspired me to delve into the horror genre. I'm more of a thriller fan and this film took me on a ride without going over the edge. The Changeling pushed me to write a screenplay that remained untitled and I then took a scene from that very screenplay and shot a short film that has won 32 awards. My DP and I studied this film and tried to set the same mood. The acting and sound is outstanding. This is a must see for those that want to watch something on their late night thriller list!!!